By Steve Wittich
The baker’s dozen turbo-charged 2.0L AER engines powering the Indy Lights field were fired for the series second qualifying session at 10:05 am. The ambient temperature when qualifying began was 67F, and the track temperature was 81F.
The qualifying session for Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race #2 followed a 45-minute NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the first time that Indy Lights big brothers utilized the stickier alternate tires.
We had a chance to chat with a few drivers on pit road before qualifying, and they explained that qualifying well will hinge on nailing the setup for the expected increased grip. An experienced driver told TSO Ladder that for Indy Lights, the track would gain two seconds of grip as 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course takes more and more rubber.
After most drivers completed four laps, Kirkwood held the provisional pole, with Frost, Lundqvist, DeFrancesco, and Malukas rounding out the top five.
The first driver to drop under 72 seconds was Malukas, who Kirkwood quickly joined.
With 18 minutes remaining in the session, the drivers started to come to the pit road for fresh Cooper Tire slicks and adjustments for the ever-evolving circuit.
Kirkwood held the provisional pole at the session’s halfway point, with a lap at 71.6125 seconds. Only five hundredths of a second behind the Andretti Autosport rookie was championship leader Malukas. Rounding out the top five and within six-tenths of a second of the provisional pole were Frost, DeFrancesco, and Lundqvist.
The first driver to hit the track after bolting on fresh Coopers was Antonio Serravalle in the LedgeMark Homes LivGreen/Tycoon Capital Limited sponsored No. 11. The rest of the field quickly joined the Canadian.
With just over five minutes of the 30-minute session remaining, HMD Motorsports rookie Nikita Lastochkin was the first driver to improve his lap time, but that was about to change.
With four minutes remaining in the session, Frost moved to the provisional pole, with the timing screen lighting up green as the Coopers reached their optimal operating temperature.
On his next lap, Frost lowered the provisional pole to 71.2465 seconds, below Kirkwood’s pole-winning lap for Race #1, and within four-tenths of a second of the track record.
Kirkwood went quicker on his 15th lap of the session, getting to within a tenth of a second of Frost and crossing the line with enough time to get one more lap. Unfortunately, the Race #1 pole-sitter could not go quicker, giving Frost the pole.
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race # 2 qualifying results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFF.|
|1||68||Danial Frost||Andretti Autosport||1:11.2465||——|
|2||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport||1:11.3756||0.1291|
|3||26||Linus Lundqvist||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||1:11.6289||0.3824|
|4||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports||1:11.6631||0.4166|
|5||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||1:11.8699||0.6234|
|6||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:11.9880||0.7415|
|7||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports||1:12.0451||0.7986|
|8||51||Toby Sowery||Juncos Racing||1:12.2309||0.9844|
|9||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||1:12.2328||0.9863|
|11||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing||1:12.4184||1.1719|
|12||59||Nikita Lastochkin||HMD Motorsports||1:12.4712||1.2247|
The first of two Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio races is set to roll off at 4:30 pm. Here is the starting line up:
|1||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport|
|2||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports|
|3||68||Danial Frost||Andretti Autosport|
|4||26||Linus Lundqvist||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports|
|5||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport|
|6||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports|
|7||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing|
|8||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport|
|9||51||Toby Sowery||Juncos Racing|
|11||59||Nikita Lastochkin||HMD Motorsports|
|13||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing|